In Review: ParkLife Festival SA

Review by Roy Bouwer (@Roy_booy)

Photos by Christelle Duvenage Photography (@StellaTeleur)


Parklife Festival is not your average Sunday music festival. The day festival emerged in 2013 in South Africa, with Australian headliner Xavier Rudd and ever since has constantly brought notable international bands complimented by the best local support acts. The most recent edition of Parklife saw thousands of Jo’burg locals (and 94.7 listeners) bringing their best park attire to be immersed in the surfeit of activity of the transformed Marks Park Sports Club. Not only were we treated to the awe-inspiring Modest Mouse but some fresh-faced internationals, American Authors and Klingande, wedged between the massive local line-up.

From the get go the day’s activities were not to be missed starting with teenage heart throb and SA’s Got Talent winner Johnny Apple, followed by various local artists like Connell Cruise and Gangs of Ballet – all with a belt full of local achievements all building up to the Headliners Modest Mouse. But the bands were not all to look forward to at Parklife.

Parklife was called a music and gourmet food festival for a reason. Once you ascended the brand new concrete stairs nestled between the two main stages you shifted from a mass of blankets in the sun to a shady and bustling food market. Suddenly your eyes were no longer jumping from face to face but from food vendor to food vendor all offering amazing gourmet foods. Along with market, the top field was where you would find the electro stage that hosted the likes of The Kiffness, PH Fat and the electro international Klingande. Despite the music being a lot more dance orientated, the vibe was way more relaxed (with the exception of the duration of the PH Fat set) the stage never really getting that busy and many choosing to take seat and appreciate the shade.


Modest Mouse - Photo by Christelle Duvenage

Modest Mouse – Photo by Christelle Duvenage


Back on the Main Field as mid-afternoon come around, we were treated to the first international band American Authors. The New York based band took time off from recording their sophomore album to conclude their tour in South Africa. Packed with energy and charisma as well as catchy songs the band generated just the right amount of hype for the time of day.

As the sun started setting and the cold autumn evening crept in, Jeremy Loops and Prime Circle were all that stood in between Jo’burg and Modest Mouse. Suddenly as the sounds of Prime Circle faded away, a massive group of musician burst onto the main stage and we were feasting our eyes and ears on the band we had been waiting for all day. Modest Mouse’s set was the faultless in incorporating songs from throughout the bands career, all receiving the same kind of admiration. One of the unexpected things about the band was the size of their live show and the amount of instruments being used. Frontman, Isaac Brook, was more than gracious to fill the instrument swapping with odd anecdotes and ramblings which kind of worked out as an unconventional way to connect to the audience. The bands performance extended well into the unkind winter night but the crowd persevered and soak up every ounce of musical delight from the headliners.

As the final act concluded their set the loyal fans dispersed and the once packed and jubilant atmosphere of Marks Park was replaced by a dark wilderness and the festival was again was ended a resounding success. From the array of different artists to the scrumptious food options the day was a day to be enjoyed by the whole family. We look forward to the next instalment of the Parklife Festival.


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